A 2.5 hour train journey from Bratislava in Slovakia took us to Budapest in Hungary. It’s strange that if you take a flight from one country to another you have to get your suitcase and hand luggage checked, go through passport control etc. If you go via train on the other hand, you get on board, don’t show passport when buying ticket or alighting the train, and get off the other end with no security checks! The border police got on the train when we crossed into Hungary, looked at us and walked off. Security check over. So if you want to smuggle anything go via train! lol
We’ve been to Budapest 4 years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it then. We were only supposed to be here for one night then we were going to go to Belgrade in Serbia to watch the local football derby but the game got moved so we cancelled our flights and decided to come here for longer as there was some football games scheduled and it would keep Kev happy ⚽
We had a walk around the local area and we were right near City Park…good location. It’s entrance starts at Heroes Square where there are sculptures of the seven chieftains of the Magyars (people who came and settled in Hungary in 9AD)
City Park also has a huge Austrian Baroque style museum for Hungarian agriculture. The museum doesn’t appeal to me but the building is great.
We walked into the centre as the sun was shining down and the temperature was a warm 18 degrees. Having spotted a bar with a good seating area and serving cheap drinks we sat down and enjoyed a cold beer and cider. We got chatting to 2 ladies from Southampton who were football supporters so them and Kev were chewing the fat over the Southampton game. They were really friendly and we all hit it off so stayed and had 4 drinks with them. I got up to go to use the bathrooms and when I came back I heard Kev saying “I know it’s sad but she really is my best friend” 😍 Aw, see he can be nice I thought. When I sat down he said “I was just telling them, fatty, that we’re best friends” 😲. The women looked at me, saw I was laughing and cracked out laughing themselves. He rubbed my leg and kissed my cheek. haha I know he comes out with some shocking things but they’re never said seriously. He knows he’d have two black eyes if I thought he meant it! 🤕😂
We left the ladies and headed for the river. We wanted to see the castle lit up at night.
Budapest is a huge place and it is split into two parts..Buda and Pest. They are both very different. Buda is more modern and a lot bigger than Pest. Pest is on the side with the Castle and is quite small and more quaint. They both have lovely buildings though.
This is Pest Castle and some of its streets/buildings
The entrance and courtyard to the Museum of Music below
The house of Harry Houdini the famous escapologist with its bright yellow facade
Whilst walking around Pest taking in the sights, Kev decides to sing a song. Now usually a song comes to mind when you have spotted something that reminds you of the lyrics. For example when I go to a river I can’t help but sing “Hold Back the River” by James Bay. For Kev he doesn’t seem to have this connection. So we’re looking up at the beauty of the church and the ornate roof tiles and he starts singing “Hey ho and away we go, donkey riding..donkey riding. Hey go and away we go, riding on a donkey” ??!?
So where’s the donkey in that photo? 😂
Kev has an alter ego, which you’ll know all about if you’ve read my other blogs. So “Barnsley Bob” has made a guest appearance this trip! we were walking around and I spotted a cool looking “push along” electric scooter with a big padded seat on it. I pointed it out and said “Oh I love that. It looks so comfy”. ‘Bob’ (Kev) turns round and says “Aye I can just imagine thee on that, wi’ thee big fat arse sat on’t seat and thee cheeks bobblin up and darn”…..someone remind me why I’m still with him after 31 years of this?
A walk around the palace brought more beautiful courtyards and statues.
The views from the top looking over the river to Buda are quite stunning
Instead of taking the funicular down the hill we decided to walk the pathway down. There was a few steps and my arthritic knees aren’t good on steps but I was doing ok. Kev even gave me back handed compliment…”tha’s doing all reet with thee manky knees, for an old un”.
We reached the bottom and the bridge to take us over the river is very much like Brooklyn Bridge in New York, which Kev is kindly pointing out…idiot!
Kev didn’t take his camera out with him today so he was watching what photos I was taking and making suggestions. I suggested he ‘walk around in ever decreasing circles and dissappear up his own a*se hole’!
I managed to get the photo below of the tram just going under the bridge. I quite liked it. Then just round the corner I got tram no 2 going in the opposite direction. I was quite lucky as my camera was turned off in my pocket. I heard the tram coming, unzipped my pocket, got my camera out, turn it on and take the photo within seconds. “Point and shoot” I said. 😀
He looked at the photos and said with a grin on his face “oh get you, you think you’re clever don’t you?” “There’s no way I could have got the photos in such a short time”. I was quite pleased with the results. Feeling chuffed with myself I put my camera away and started walking towards the river. He put his arm around my shoulder and started singing to me “you’re just a fat David Bailey, fat David Baaaailey. you’re just a fat David Bailey “♫♬. oh my word. He just gets worse. I just stood open mouthed at his cheek. He kissed me passionately on the lips and said “tha loves me dunt tha? I can see it in thee eyes haha 😍” Unfortunately I do love him, and love our banter. We laugh every day and there’s nothing to beat that.
We sat on a bench by the River Danube, laughing. We ate our lunch whilst watching the water flowing fast in front of the Parliament building. Yesterday we had sunburn it was that warm.. today I was wrapped up in hat and gloves to keep warm. (Kev forgot to take his out with him today) 😨
We headed off into town to explore some of the streets we hadn’t seen when we were here 4 years ago. There aren’t as many beggars here as other countries and a lot of the homeless people sleep in the subway on foam mattresses, with duvets!there are reportedly 1300 homeless in Budapest but where they all sleep I don’t know. The ones that we saw sleeping on the streets and in shop doorways don’t seem to have it as bad as other places in the world.
There are some beautiful buildings in Buda. The first one we noticed after heading away from the river, had amazing carvings in the wall and around the windows…this is the National Bank! There were armed guards on the door and they wouldn’t let us in just to look at the ceiling in the foyer!
A walk around the corner and we spotted this little beauty with its stunning doors and roof. You can’t see the gilding on the roof from here but believe me it was impressive. This is the post office national savings building!
As we carried on up the same street Kev noticed some fairy lights just inside the doorway of this building
We headed in and walked into my idea of heaven….a food market on the bottom and street food/cafes above 😁
We didn’t eat there. Some of the menus left a lot to be desired but we bought some local spicy sausages and blood sausage to cook later (Kev’s choice) and I got some steak and chicken 😉
By now it was 3pm and we had been walking since 9am. Time to make our way slowly back to our apartment. Kev had to get ready for the football match and we needed to eat before he went.
We walked passed the theatre, which was absolutely huge, and again another photo worthy building
On our way home we spotted a park so decided to go and have a look at what it had to offer, whilst we were passing.
It was a lovely area with a monument in it in remembrance of the Jews that lost their lives to the Germans that occupied Hungary in 1944. Adjacent to the stone and brass monument was a more moving and definitely more interesting remembrance, put there by the locals in protest. The monument, that the government erected in the middle of the night, was wrong in its very existence. It angered a lot of the locals.
Critics of the monument – which depicts Hungary as the Archangel Gabriel being attacked by a German imperial eagle – say it absolves the Hungarian state and Hungarians of their active role in sending some 450,000 Jews to their deaths during the occupation.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was “falsifying the Holocaust” by getting a monument “confusing the murderer and the victim” erected “in the shelter of the night.” He accused Orbán of dishonouring all Jewish, Roma and gay victims of the Holocaust, and added that it was “characteristic of the regime that it did not dare set up the statue of falsehood during the day.”
Local people have created their own rememberance with old suitcases, shoes, photos and various other symbols/possessions of family members who lost their life in the Holocaust. Not only did the Germans kill Jews but also a lot of Hungarians were guilty of it.
They hold a candlelit gathering in rememberance, every night at 5.30pm at this site.
On arriving back at our apartment at 5pm, we had our dinner (or tea as it’s called in Yorkshire) and Kev then left for his football at 6pm. We’d got the ticket the day before by getting the tube and tram to the ground, and queueing for an hour with the die hard home team fans. The lady behind the ticket counter “saw us coming” she realised we were tourists so didn’t ask us which ticket we wanted. We got what we were given! £3.61 he paid to watch the local football derby!!! A pint at the game set him back £1.25! robbing sods 😂😂
On our last day in Budapest we decided to spend it out of the city in a little place called Sventendre. We had to take the train then a tram to get there. The train station has extremely long escalators, which move at some speed! You have to be slightly wary as it just whips you on then spits you off at the other end, it’s so steep too. It makes the ones in Kings Cross look tiny.
The train was quite old and in need of a refurb, to say the least. We got shook about on the rickety lines and everytime the doors opened to let someone on at a station, an alarm went off that sounded like someone was escaping from prison! Haha
Sventendre is really popular in summer and attracts hundreds of people. In winter it’s pretty quiet but you can still see the attraction.
The little cobbled streets are home to brightly coloured buildings, where locals are selling various tourist souvenirs, trying to make a living.
The streets have wires across holding huge lamp shades that light up the streets at night.
Not having a map of the town, we took a walk down one the streets to see where it lead us…..a gorgeous lake with restaurants, coffee shops and waffle houses dotted along the edge.
We went for a coffee and pastry then walked along the lake to make our way back to the train station. The village from a distance looked like something from a painting. It was very picturesque.
We finished our day off with a 2 course chinese meal with a drink each in a local restaurant close to City Park.When the bill arrived we were shocked to see the whole lot had only come to £13.62!
If you have never been to Hungary then I can certainly recommend it. Budapest is a great cultural city, waiting for you to explore it’s museums, theatres, opera house, art galleries etc.It’s also good for shopping and sight seeing. Don’t be afraid to expore places out of the city. The public transport is cheap and frequent.
Tomorrow we take a 10 hour train journey to Warsaw in Poland.